Bird Flu and Insurance ... are you covered?

Avian flu spreads business continuity fears

18 December 2007 It is estimated that UK poultry farmers stand to lose as much as  £30 million in a major outbreak of avian flu.In the run-up to Christmas, peoples minds turn to festive feasts and celebration. But following a second outbreak of the deadly H5NI bird flu at a turkey farm in East Anglia recently, many business managers have more serious issues than what people will be serving up on the day. It is estimated that UK poultry farmers stand to lose as much as  £30 million in a major outbreak of avian flu, even after they have received government compensation.

ISO publishes international benchmark ISO 22399

Category Business Continuity Management BCM - ISO22399 - Advice - Support - Education

ISO publishes international benchmark for incident preparedness and operational continuity management

ISO has published the first internationally ratified benchmark document addressing incident preparedness and continuity management for organizations in both public and private sectors. The Publicly Available Specification ISO/PAS 22399:2007, Societal Security Guideline for incident preparedness and operational continuity management, is based on business continuity best practice from five national standards from Australia, Israel, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Employers must prepare for flu calamity

Category Business Continuity Management Briefing BCM - BCM & Risk Management - H5N1 - Pandemic - General

UK bosses and managers need to do more to prepare for an influenza pandemic

Fewer than a quarter of companies have made adequate plans for coping with a flu pandemic, according to research which suggests that an outbreak would have a devastating impact on business.

A major survey of proprietors, executives and senior managers has revealed that 30 per cent of businesses have no strategy at all, while 14 per cent have only rudimentary continuity plans that need improvement. Another 34 per cent of executives are unaware of how their companies intend to deal with the threat of pandemic flu, and only 22 per cent are comfortable that they are properly prepared.

Even among those businesses that have drawn up a continuity plan, very few have bought a stockpile of the antiviral drug Tamiflu, the main defence against the flu virus, for treating their staff. Only 18 per cent of those companies with a pandemic plan have bought or intend to buy the drug. Among FTSE-100 companies, seven have ordered enough Tamiflu to cover every employee, and another four have placed smaller orders. Ministers urged to consider flu jabs for all Insurer rises to challenge Although the Government has bought 15.6 million courses of Tamiflu, this will be enough for only 25 per cent of the population, and its scientific advisers have recommended that double or even triple this quantity is needed. Much of the stockpile is expected to be reserved for essential workers, such as emergency services and utilities staff.

The official pandemic plan also makes no provision for ensuring that businesses can continue to operate, and the Government has strongly recommended that companies make their own preparations. It has not, however, issued advice on what these should involve. The new research, conducted by YouGov for Roche, the pharmaceutical company that makes Tamiflu, suggests that most businesses have yet to take the threat seriously. Nottingham University Business School has calculated that a pandemic could cost British business £95 billion. Last year, a study for the Harvard Business Review concluded: “Should a pandemic emerge, it would become the single biggest threat to business continuity, and could remain so for up to 18 months.

Russell Price, chairman of the Continuity Forum, a business think-tank, who peer-reviewed the research, said that by failing to invest in sensible measures many businesses were exposing themselves to difficulties that could prevent them from operating effectively, or close them down. Companies needed to plan for absenteeism that the Cabinet Office had calculated could reach 25 per cent, Mr Price said. Company stocks of Tamiflu would also reassure staff. But the prescription-only drug would have to be distributed by company doctors or third-party medical services.  Businesses and public sector organisations are generally still overlooking fundamental points, Price said. It is far better to address the issues now, rather than hope to cope later.

Mark Henderson, Science Editor The Times  

UK organisations ill prepared for continuity risks

New report finds business longevity, reputation and ability to succeed hampered by lack of information availability and business continuity planning.

A new report has found that the majority of UK organisations are ill prepared to ensure business continuity (BC) and information availability in the event of a disaster or pandemic, like avian flu.

The report, due out next Monday (12 Nov), found just 41 per cent of FTSE 250 companies are fully prepared for forced relocation from their offices, despite the fact that nearly half (47 per cent) of the 30 risk management representatives interviewed for it said more than 24-hours' downtime could seriously jeopardise their entire business's survival.



THIS EVENT IS NOW CLOSED - WE WILL BE RE-RUNNING IT AGAIN SOON Please call us for more information

Location London - 18th October

Continuing the industries most popular series of events the Continuity Forum is delighted announce a Crisis Management Event to be held in Ealing on 18th October. This Full Day Session is in two parts enabling a comprehensive and thorough sharing of knowledge for all delegates.

Crisis Management Presentation Session

This morning session will discuss topics such as Managing your People and Crisis Communications. We will be discussing the latest developments in business continuity, risk management and will include recently updated information on market developments.

Crisis Management Event - Special Workshop

This afternoon workshop will continue the discussion topics of the morning session, and will allow you to expand upon your knowledge and expertise in the areas of Managing your People and Crisis Communications. This workshop offers unbiased and straightforward advice and the opportunity to work on realistic studies to expand your own planning.

Benefits of Attending

Learn vital lessons from those severely affected by serious Events

Understand how vital communications can signicantly mitigate the impacts of the event

Take the opportunity to discuss future planning and development with our expert speakers and with your fellow delegates

We will also be discussing the latest developments in business continuity, risk management and will include recently updated information on market developments .

As always, the Continuity Forum aims to remove the hype and focus on the FACTS, and to this end we are delighted to be working with high quality speakers from leading organisations and individuals in this space.

The event is aimed at offering businesses, practitioners and vendors alike unbiased and straightforward advice on the issues you face today. It is expected that this event will attract a large audience, offering potential networking with businesses and places will be limited, we urge early registration. If you have colleagues who may be interested, please do feel free to forward this invitation as soon as possible.

The event is offered at £80 to public sector members, £99 to members and will be charged at £229 plus VAT for non-members.

To book your place, please email and include "CRISIS MANAGEMENT - 18th October 2007 in your subject header. Places will be reserved for members first, and then on a strictly first come first served basis.

Agenda 08.30 09.00

Registration, Networking & Breakfast Introduction & Housekeeping Sara McKenna, Programme Director, The Continuity Forum

09.10 Opening Remarks Russell Price, Chairman, Continuity Forum Mandy Rutter, Clinical Manager, ICAS Morning Session

09.30 Case Study - Why effective Communications in a Crisis is vital This case study provides you with a unique opportunity to learn from an organisation that suffered a major event. The Human Aspects of Trauma

12.30 Coffee & Networking

Communicating in a Crisis Comments & Discussion Session Lunch Afternoon Session

13.30 Introduction to the Workshop Sessions Workshop One - Communicating in a Crisis Lessons Learned on the First Workshop Coffee & Networking Managing Your People during a Crisis Lessons Learned on the Second Workshop Extended Questions and Discussion 17.00 Chair - Closing Remarks and Close of Conference

This special event is brought to you by The Continuity Forum. For further information on this event or to reserve your place at this please contact us on the details below: Sara McKenna on 0208 993 1599 or mail HERE! Please book your space ASAP!

This event forms part of our public awareness sessions and is open to both members and non-members. Preference will be given in the first instance to Full Forum Members.

This event is strictly hosted under the CHATHAM HOUSE RULE.

Continuity Forum Events NOW BOOKING

Category Business Continuity Management BCM - EVENTS

Business Continuity Events SERIES

Fresh from our successful September Series of events around the country, the Continuity Forum is now pleased to announce four events running in October in London focused on CRISIS MANAGEMENT, EXERCISING THE BCM PLAN, POST-EVENT RECOVERY and the BS25999 STANDARD. The dates are 16th, 18th and 24th October, and 13th November respectively. These sessions are already filling up so please do get you booking in quickly to avoid disappointment. For more details on these events please click on the links below for more information. 

To keep up with all the our latest events don't forget to register just by clicking the link below.



Employees at risk as businesses ignore flu pandemic planning

Most organisations would fail to protect their staff against a flu pandemic because of a lack of forward planning, research suggests.

2007 BCM research shows organisations unlikely to weather the storm

Category Business Continuity Management - BCM - CMI CF Annual Research

Small businesses still not planning and Weather and people based events rise

19 March 2007 Many UK organisations admit they are failing to prepare for disruption, despite recording a dramatic increase in the level of upheaval caused by extreme weather conditions and high levels of people and skills loss. According to research, published today by the Chartered Management Institute, organisations are 'blowing hot and cold' when it comes to business continuity they pay lip service to the importance of planning for disaster, but fail to make business resilience a reality.

Barriers to business The 2007 Business Continuity Management Survey, supported by the Cabinet Office and Continuity Forum, reveals that 1 in 4 organisations (28 per cent) were affected by extreme weather conditions in the 12 months to January 2007, an increase from less than 1 in 10, the previous year. The worst affected areas were Wales, where 21 per cent reported significant disruption, closely followed by Scotland and the South East (both 18 per cent). 1 in 5 managers (20 per cent) also said their organisations productivity had suffered due to a 'loss of skills' over the past year. 17 per cent blamed health and safety incidents for business disruption (up from 13 per cent, last year) and 32 per cent focused on the impact caused by 'loss of people', the highest proportion since the question was first asked, in 2003.

Looking ahead Managers identified traditional areas as most likely to impact on future costs and revenue. IT was cited by 73 per cent, followed by loss of telecommunications (63 per cent) and loss of access to sites (60 per cent). However, reflecting concerns expressed in the recent Leitch Review of Skills, managers highlighted increasing levels of concern over 'loss of people' (57 per cent) and skills (up to 59, from 49 per cent, last year). Jo Causon, director, marketing and corporate affairs, at the Chartered Management Institute, says: “Protecting an organisations infrastructure is, of course, vital to its sustainability. However, technology is nothing without the people who can use it and unless organisations balance the need to safeguard buildings with the need to secure their workforce, any attempt at business continuity management will remain unfinished and inadequate."

Lack of preparation The research, conducted amongst 1,257 public and private sector managers, also uncovered an alarming level of complacency amongst UK employers. Although the majority (73 per cent) believe business continuity is viewed as important by their senior management team, the number whose organisations have a business continuity plan (BCP) covering critical areas is much lower (48 per cent). Amongst medium- and small-sized organisations levels of preparation are lower still (42 and 34 per cent, respectively). Even where BCPs exist, many organisations fail to balance levels of protection with what they perceive are key threats to business. For example, only 35 per cent of BCPs focus on reputation, even though almost half (49 per cent) perceive 'damage to brand' as a major threat. Encouragingly, half of those respondents with a BCP report that they rehearse plans at least once a year. More than 1 in 3 (37 per cent) do nothing with the plans that have been developed and 15 per cent fail to act on the shortcomings they identify. Bruce Mann, director of Civil Contingencies at the Cabinet Office, says: “The report reveals a situation where there is still much work to be done. Events from the Carlisle floods to the London bombings and Buncefield explosion have clearly shown the vast range of impacts that emergencies can have. Yet despite these, there are still too many organisations with insufficient business continuity plans in place."

Coping with disaster In the context of these fears and the continued threat of a flu pandemic, managers were asked if their employer had plans in place to cater for excessive staff loss, due to illness. Encouragingly, 54 per cent of organisations have plans in place for a flu pandemic, but organisations are still failing to fully consider the impact of additional parent-worker absences - a factor demonstrated recently when almost 1,000 schools were forced to close because of snow*. The research found that 67 per cent of respondents suggest that increased levels of absences would result from school childcare closures during a pandemic, but only 19 per cent suggest their organisations plan is sufficient to cope. The research also makes it clear that organisations are failing to make adequate provision for immediate business continuity. Despite many fearing the impact of loss of access to their site, only half (53 per cent) said their organisation is ready for remote working "to a great extent"even though nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) have access to alternative work sites. 61 per cent also report that their organisations outsource facilities or services, but only 22 per cent demand business continuity management (BCM) from all business critical suppliers. Where BCPs are sought, almost half (48 per cent) admit they are satisfied with a statement from the supplier, one-third (34 per cent) will examine the BCP, but only 17 per cent are involved in the development of supplier BCPs. John Sharp, policy and development director at the Continuity Forum, says: “Successful business continuity planning is a two-way process. Organisations need to demonstrate their commitment to BCM to key stakeholders internally and externally, but at the same time should encourage suppliers to do the same. Failure to do so will lead to major business disruption as inadequate plans are exposed at the time they are needed most." 

Planning keeps flooded firms afloat

UK Flooding shows need for increased BCM planning

Businesses in northern and central England have deployed their business continuity plans after sustained heavy rainfall flooded offices and left IT centres inaccessible throughout the region.

Insurers estimate that the cost to repair physical damage across the country will run to £1bn. Among the organisations affected by the floods were steel company Sheffield Forgemasters and Sheffield Chamber of Commerce.

Keith Tilley, managing director at disaster recovery firm SunGard Availability Services, said, "This is the biggest multiple-company incident we have had after the 7 June London bombings in 2005 and the Buncefield oil depot fire in 2006." Staff at Sheffield Chamber of Commerce had to be winched to safety by an RAF helicopter on Monday evening.

Director Stephen Mitchell, who was among those rescued, said that although the chamber's systems were backed up regularly and long-term damage would be minimal, it had been difficult to help businesses with the crisis because the chamber's own IT system had not been working. Parts of the e-mail system also had to be replaced at a cost of up to £3,000.

Law firm Irwin Mitchell relocated staff after the floods caused £1m in damage to its Sheffield offices. Richard Hodkinson, group IT and operations director, said that staff working at the offsite SunGard disaster recovery centre managed to keep services to clients running despite power disruptions. "People worked well into the night, determined to get resolution to these problems. It brought the best out for the IT team and pulled them together," Hodkinson said.

EWS Railway's datacentre south-east of Doncaster was also hit by the flooding. CIO Guy Mason said, "Work on essential projects and strategy has stopped, despite not losing systems. It is still a real cost." The experience has brought the IT department and the users closer together, he said. "I have never seen them talking together more than this week." David Fletcher, a director at investment company Creative Sheffield, said, "Smaller companies may not survive this, but larger companies will mostly pull through because they usually have the financial resources."

The floods had shown that business continuity is essential for every business, no matter what size or type. END

If you would like to know more about how your organisation can get involved and benefit from working with the Continuity Forum, please call on + 44 (0) 208 993 1599.

UK flooding bill exceeds £5 billion small firms worst affected - Updated

Small firms struggle in flood aftermath

Update The current estimate for the Summer Flooding Bill now exceeds £5 Billion, insurers are now processing over 11,000 claims from businesses for the disruption and damage caused.

A farmer watches his crop rot in the fields. A pizza and kebab seller wonders when his shop can open again. A builders' merchant is still clearing skip after skip of debris from his premises. These are just three of the businesses affected by the devastating floods that swept through thousands of homes and offices last week. Teams of loss adjusters are now sweeping through South Yorkshire and the Hull area, totting up the bills for the insurance industry. New figures released on Friday by the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters suggest that claims relating to the floods will total more than £1.5bn - £825m for domestic claims, £680m for businesses. (see update note - Estimates now exceed £5 billion)
The Chartered Institute says virtually all properties where there is a claim have now been visited by its members, and the rest should have had a visit by the beginning of next week.

What should flood victims do next?

Advice for flooding victims
If you have been flooded what can you do to start clearing up the inevitable mess caused safely and without adding to the problems. Don't expect the authorities to be available as they will likely be tied up dealing with the broader impact of the flooding and they are going to prioritise manpower carefully and it may be some time before they get around to you. 
So how can business owners and residents start the clear up and get back to normal quickly? 

The new British Standard for Business Continuity - BS25999

Category Business Continuity Management - BCM - BS25999 - press release

Standards deliver framework for growth

Increasing numbers of organisations in the UK recognise the need for BCM. This may be driven by customers, regulators, statutory requirements or even a desire to improve organisational governance.

However what the senior managers of these organisations lack is guidance of how BCM should be implemented. 50% of managers responding to the annual Chartered Management Institutes BCM survey, carried out in association with Continuity Forum, made this their highest requirement.


2007 Business Continuity Salary Survey

This years Salary Survey has been the biggest ever with nearly 1400 respondents and covers a key period of industry development as increased focus on Standards, Regulation and Legislation issues gathers speed.

The recent availability of the first part of the new British Standard, BS25999 appears to be adding value and profile to BC skills more generally in the market and the impact on the Civil Contingencies Act on Public Sector organisations and Category Two responders building the profile and importance of Business Continuity Management. With these developments interest in BCM is firmly on the management agenda and we believe that we are starting to see the skills required in Business Continuity Management recognised as key to the organisation, and consequently there has been a marked uplift in the value associated with them from employers.

Business Continuity Planning again a top priority for Wall Street Firms

Boardroom interest in BCM increases on Wall St as new regulation pressure builds

Business continuity planning (BCP) once again is the 800-pound gorilla in Wall Street boardrooms. And as vendors deploy a swathe of new products to ensure that companies can function and continue to close deals in the midst of any crisis, the financial industry is witnessing a growing trend toward the virtualization of trading platforms and other services.

Planning for catastrophes has been at the forefront of companies' priorities since 9/11, "but by 2003, companies realized just how expensive implementation of a BCP strategy could be, and started trying to cut costs," says Alex Tabb, a partner at Boston-based TABB Group who covers crisis and continuity services. "It's a cyclical trend. Firms spend more, then cut back."

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